Archive for the 'mountain biking' Category

Jun 15 2012

Surf n Turf

Surf n Turf – Not sure where Jeff got this notion, but a morning of surfing and mountain biking sounded like Maximum Mendo Funness so we loaded up the truck with our toys.

The winds have been cranking on the coast, kicking up quite a wind swell and creating surf at one of our favorite surf spots.  The conditions have been tough with on-shore winds in the 10-15kt range in the early mornings then ramping up to 25-35kt in the afternoon.  Waves have been stacked tightly on top of each other and often doubling up in the surf zone.  However when the set waves come in, there were some green faces and shoulders to ride.

To beat the wind, we conspired to get up and get out on the water early.  There is something magical about starting the day on the water.  Warm, sunny weather always helps with early mornings.  It was great to be back in my surf kayak.  With a couple of strokes it effortlessly catches waves and glides down the line.  The waves weren’t the best, and my surf skills are a bit rusty but it sure was FUN.

A quick change on the beach (loving my fleece changing station), and we are driving just a couple of miles to meet some friends for some Mendocino mountain biking.

Our North Coast Coniferous Forest is beautiful in the spring with rhododendron petals and a symphony of birds singing.  Even sweeter is the mountain biking on the Mendocino Coast – lots of tight twisting single track built specifically for mountain biking.

Can’t wait for the next Surf n Turf Day.

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Jan 16 2012

Do IT!!!

If your new years resolutions are to get in shape, learn a new sport, improve your skills, or paddle more – let’s do it!!! One of the best ways that we have found to stick to resolutions is to set a goal and to recruit a friend, training partner, or coach to work with you toward the goal.

Here are a couple of ideas for kayaking goals for 2012.

Make it FUN – What ever the goal or resolution. Find a way to make it fun and it will be more attainable. This is where recruiting a fun-loving friend, coworker, or family member will help.

Learn proper skills and technique. Some aspects of kayaking are intuitive; however, there are many nuances and tricks that one can learn that will make kayaking more efficient and more fun for paddlers of at any skills level. We (and many other instructors) often share tips on twitter, facebook, and in our blogs, but, the best way to develop proper technique is to work with an instructor or coach who can give instruction and feedback. Kayak symposiums are a great way to meet different coaches to find that right mentor. Two of our favorite west coast symposiums are the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium in February and Lumpy Waters in October.

Try a new discipline of paddling. The skills that you learn with a different type of boat or paddle will improve your overall skills in all disciplines. If you like to paddle a sit on top kayak, take a sea kayak lesson in a decked sea kayak. If you like to sea kayak ocean rock gardens, try a whitewater river class or rock gardening in a whitewater kayak. Jeff and I are expanding our paddling skills this year to include Stand-Up Paddling (SUP).

Sea Kayaking – Pick a BCU Star Award to work toward. The BCU system is a well organized guide for skill progression. It gives a paddler a way to assess their skills and plan for improvement. Trainings and assessments are available throughout the US and in many other great kayaking destinations (Baja, anyone?). If you are new to the BCU, consider taking a 2 Star Assessment or 3 Star Sea Training this winter or spring. Here’s a link to LFK’s BCU schedule.
Whitewater River Kayaking – Make 2012 the year that you style the river rather than survive it. Perfect your eddy turns and ferries and dial your wave surfing by a few minutes of focused practice on each of your river trips. Either with a class or with friends, see who can ferry across the river with the fewest strokes or time each other on surfing waves.
Chuck

Surf Kayaking – How about training for an event? The Santa Cruz Paddlefest is March 16-18. See some of the best kayak surfers in the world as well as have a chance to surf at Santa Cruz Steamer’s Lane. Here’s our video from 2011.

Have a Reliable Roll - For the safety of yourself and others, you need to have a reliable roll if you are paddling challenging waters. For most of us, this takes a lot of focused practice and often some good coaching. Often there is one little thing that we can do or focus on that will improve the success of our rolls. How do we find that one little thing? Usually it involves feedback from a coach or friend who analyzes your roll. That one little thing can be as simple as making sure you finish ( Creating a Reliable Roll by Phil and Mary Dereimer) or using an active leg drop (Shawna Franklin’s tip in Adventure Kayak Magazine) or just relaxing and taking a moment to relax before rolling.


Improving your fitness
– We of course advocate cross training. Cardiovascular training will make long paddles or slogs through a headwind easier. Hiking, mountain biking, and swimming are our favorite cardio exercises. Recruit a friend, family member, or coworker to power walk, hike, bike, or swim 2-3 days a week. Set a schedule with specific times and days and try to stick with it.

Strength and flexibility are equally important and will help with injury prevention. I am a reluctant yoga participant, but Jeff has been rallying me to regularly practice. We do our strength and flexibility workouts first thing in the morning so that they get done and we feel great the rest of the day. It is best to work with an instructor, but I have a hard time getting myself to the gym or studio and prefer to practice at home. My two favorite yoga workout dvd’s are Yoga for Cyclists and Anna Levesque’s Yoga for Kayaking.

Be prepared for emergencies – Prevention, prevention, prevention is our motto; however, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected. CPR and First Aid are a must for anyone. This year, we have recruited Sierra Rescue to come to the Mendocino Coast to teach a Wilderness First Aid Class for the outdoor enthusiasts in our area. If you are playing in whitewater, a swiftwater training is a must as well. If you have had training, rally your friends to practice scenarios and to maintain a dialog of contingency plans.

Part of our emergency preparations includes our OSB’s (Oh Shit Bags). These are part of our kit on all kayaking trips and include essential first aid, communication, and repair materials.


Most important – DO IT and make it FUN!!!

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Jan 03 2012

A Series of Unexpected Events

Surreal would be my best adjective for 2011. Of course phenomenal paddling is to be expected when one’s regular paddling playground is the Mendocino Coast. However, 2011 seemed to be the year of the unexpected.
Jeff catches air and Kathe gets a saltwater facial.
As I reflect on 2011, I recall regularly thinking, “Really? Someone pinch me so that I know this is really happening.”
Cate and Amy coasteering on the Mendocino Coast.
From befriending a garter snake

Cate's friend Hairy.

to testing strip-built sea kayaks, 2011 was a bizarre year.
Cate takes the strip built sea kayak in the rocks.
Probably one of the most unexpected events of 2011 was helping Jeff salvage a sunken sit on top kayak from the bottom of Noyo Bay.
Salvaging a sunken sit on top kayak in Noyo Bay.
Equally unexpected was stepping my game up to run some Class IV whitewater.
Cate descends Double Drop on the Eel River.
My favorite adventure of 2011 was our 169 mile Paddle to the Sea on the Eel River. In 8 days, Jeff and I paddled whitewater kayaks from Lake Pillsbury to the Pacific Ocean on the Eel River.
Setting off on Day 2 from Hearst.
2011 was a year of fun and adventure but also of frustration (Tales from the Surf Zone) and disappointment (Skunked). And also sadness as 2 of my beloved pets – Button and Aften passed away. It is these moments that remind us that we are human and things aren’t meant to be perfect.
Aften's first kayak trip on Fort Bragg's Noyo River
What will 2012 bring? More fun adventures I hope. Jeff and I will be traveling a little bit more in 2012 and sharing the fun. In January, I am meeting with Risa Shimoda to consult with her on The Ladies’ Project. Later in January, we are road tripping with the toys to Bodega Bay for Crabfest 2012 sponsored by The Headwaters and Promar. In March, we will be sharing our Eel River Paddle to the Sea Adventure with several clubs including Explore North Coast.

Unexpected has been the positive response that I have gotten from readers of my blog. Initially, I was surprised that people were reading my blog. Thanks for reading and sharing the adventures. Here’s a link to some of our favorite photos of 2011.

Best wishes for fun and adventure in 2012.
Looking for Pearls?

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Dec 19 2011

Interval Training – Mendo Style

I vowed to get stronger, faster, and more skilled this fall/winter and have been trying to stay on track with regular training. With limited hours of daylight and lots of other projects to do, this presents a problem. Fall/winter is also our favorite time to hunt and gather. Hmmm – the need for high intensity exercise and the need for hunting and gathering?

Ah-Ha!!! Interval training!!! For years athletes and fitness enthusiasts have used interval training to boost fitness levels. The general gist of interval training is interspersing bursts of high intensity effort with periods of low intensity effort. Here is my evolving Mendo Interval Training Plan for Forage, Frolic, Feast, and Fun.

Intervals in the WoodsMountain biking and Mushroom hunting

How it works – Riding to specific mushroom patches and stopping to pick. Mountain biking on single track trails through the forest constantly engages the core muscles as well as challenges ones balance and timing. Short steep climbs and long sustained efforts provide cardiovascular training.
Cate mountain biking
Results – in 3 hours – cardio and core training, 2-3 pounds of choice edible mushrooms, fresh air, and FUN!!!

Variation – hiking and mushroom hunting. Not quite the core workout but a fun way to get a workout in while trekking to mushroom spots and sharing the adventure with friends who don’t mountain bike.


Intervals at Sea
kayak surfing and crabbing

How it works – setting crab rings in a sandy area near a surf zone and then going surfing. After 20-30 minutes, return to pull the rings which are hopefully heavy with dungeness crabs. Repeat 4 times. We usually end up sprinting between the crab rings and the surf zone and of course surfing always involves rolling.

Results – in 3 hours – an intense paddling workout(sprints, rolling, and salt water sinus cleaning), fresh dungeness crabs, and FUN. Lately I’ve been working on surfing a sea kayak and demoing a Dagger Alchemy. The day hatch is a handy place to transport and store crabs.

Variation – Dropping crab pots and going rock gardening – see CARS.

SUPing for Crabs
– (I got a SUP for birthday/Christmas this year). This week was our first time on the SUP’s so we are still learning and developing this variation. The SUP is definitely a good core workout and a lot of fun.

Frolic, forage, feast, and fun is the theme of these evolving Mendo Intervals. Who knows where the adventures will lead next.

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Dec 06 2009

Land and Sea Adventures in Fort Bragg, California

Here’s our latest video creation Outdoor Adventures in Fort Bragg, California featuring some of our land and sea adventures in our home of Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast of California. Of course, we feature kayaking but also some of our other favorite activities on the coast and in the forest including abalone diving, mountain biking, and more.

A special thanks to Brent Reitz – master instructor of the Forward Stroke – for allowing us to use Single Care as our main song. If you have taken one of Brent’s Forward Stroke Clinics, you probably have immensely improved your forward stroke and probably heard him rock-out on the harmonica. Here’s a link to his group – Bad Habits.

We hope that you enjoy the video – we sure had fun making it.

YouTube Preview Image

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Nov 30 2009

Into the Forest

Fly Agaric Mushrooms on the Mendocino Coast

Guess we should change our voicemail and sign outside of our shop from we are on the water to we are in the forest. Fall and winter is one of our favorite times of the year for hiking and mountain biking in the forests of Mendocino County. We have lots of great singletrack trails for mountain biking and lots of colorful and choice edible mushrooms in the forest.

Ride thru Tree

We are still paddling and enjoying the colorful migratory ducks that are visiting us for the winter on the Noyo. On Saturday in addition to the mallards, harlequin duck, green-winged teals, and 40+ buffleheads; we enjoyed watching a colorful wood duck drake.

Bufflehead drakes on the Noyo River

Our mushroom paddles were a lot of fun. We started the paddles with a short lesson on the basics of mushroom identification followed by looking at and identifying the wild mushrooms growing along the Noyo. Finding a King Bolete growing along the river was very exciting. (especially for a boletivore like me – no I didn’t pick it).

Finding a King Bolete on a Noyo River Mushroom Paddle

We just finished our first session of Intro to Kayaking at Fort Bragg’s new aquatic and recreation facility – the CV Starr Community Center. It is beautiful!!! We are enjoying drop in kayak night on Mondays for eskimo roll practice and kayak fun and games until January 11 when our new Intro to Kayaking Class begins.

Eskimo Rolling in the pool of CV Starr Aquatic Center in Fort Bragg, CA

Hmmm . . . wood ducks on the Noyo? I bet we write more on this subject in the future. Stay tuned.

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Apr 03 2009

Guilty with no remorse


Yes, I am officially guilty of pedaling this week more than paddling. Oh, but mountain biking in the Mendocino Coast redwoods is so much fun, the traction is great, I love my new bike, and the whole gang is doing it. Besides, I am not really keen on paddling in the 20 to 30 kt winds that we have been having.

We are getting some new boats tomorrow so I am sure that given high winds or high water – we will be paddling this weekend.

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